Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Has Finally Arrived

What happens when I get iced in for almost four days straight? Just short of pulling my hair out and eating everything in sight, I got busy. Christmas finally got put on display in the house! Arranged in vignettes, finally, to my liking*. Granted we've had the tree up since early November, with just the lights. But Hubby was nagging at me to get the ornaments up. I was too busy just enjoying the lights.

The Christmas spirit finally kicked in after the first Sunday of Advent. Combine that with a sheet of two inch thick ice on the driveway and I've got nothing but time to get the decorations out. They've been sitting in boxes too long. It also helped that we watched the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim. It was at my oldest daughter's request that we watch the movie. That just melted my heart.

Welcome to my Christmas home tour:

This will greet you when you walk in the front door.



At some point I had an obsession with snow globes & Santa Claus. I've stopped this obsession, but I still bring out what I have.

See what I mean? Santa Claus & snow globes everywhere.

We each have a ribbon to place our wish list items on.

The tree this year is not what I usually do. It's much simpler. And I love it just as much as in years past**.

Hubby and I bought this angel before we got married. It's nice to see her out again. 

My kitchen table is set with my mismatched Christmas dishes. But it looks good. I don't buy anything pricey before Christmas that's a keeper. Unless I like it A LOT. I would rather try and hold off until after and save a little dough. 

I added some paper placemats. I'll wait until after Christmas before I buy some fabric ones to keep forever. Until then, these will do just fine.

Where do I throw the throw that really doesn't keep anybody warm and is itchy? On the table then pile stuff on it that doesn't go anywhere else.





What's the easiest thing in the world to decorate with at Christmas? Ornaments!
We are missing our nativity scene this year. It's about 16 years old and last year there were just too many pieces either broken or missing***. After Christmas I'm going to see if I can hunt down pieces of a certain nativity scene that I just adore. But have you priced this thing out? Wowza!



Jesus may not be displayed in a nativity in our home. But He is in our hearts and we try to live the life that He has given us. He is the reason that we celebrate this very time of year. With joy.
 
 We look forward to Christmas. We look forward to being together and celebrating the birth of our Lord & Savior. I love the feelings of hope and love that fill the air when Christmas is fast approaching****. The excitement that the kids feel is contagious.

For the kid in all of us that we never outgrow, there is this:


Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!. 


*You can only throw so many blocks of chipped off ice while yelling, "ICEBERG" into the pool before it gets boring.

**Except last years tree. I'm glad companies are making lights that are more earth friendly, but last year they were BLUE. My tree looked like a big light up Smurf at night. We don't do pre-lit trees. They are more of a hassle to us than they are worth!

**At this point I'm even missing parts of the Little People nativity that the kids have. At our ages though, it almost seems sacrilegious. It was really cute when the kids were younger. If you press down on the angel it plays Silent Night.  

****During the times when frustration and disappointment aren't busy filling our heads.  And I still haven't finished shopping.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dear PTA Nag

Aaahhhh. The acronym "PTA" doesn't necessarily hold warm fuzzies for some*. I said some. I am one of those some.

Why do I participate, you ask? I have a few reasons.  I like to get to know the teachers in my kids lives. I like to help where I can. If a teacher needs a chaperone for a field trip, I'm your girl. You need those books covered**? I'm your girl. I am a whiz with the scissors and the laminating machine in the workroom. The copying machine and I are best buds at this point. My last reason for participating is I have time on my hands. Give me something to do! It just so happens that my position this year is in the teacher workroom. I pop in to see what needs to be done at my choosing.

Then, there's my PTA cohorts. A few of them I have enjoyed getting to know. Then there's the others. The ones who need to point out to you endlessly what title they hold within the organization because that's all they have to hold over you***.

Recently I was walking up to pick up my youngest after school. I was talking to a fellow PTA'er and we were having a very pleasant conversation****. Then I felt the presence of the Nag behind be. It doesn't help that you can hear her voice from a mile away. It grates on my nerves. She wouldn't know how to whisper if her life depended on it. Trust me sister PTA'er, not everyone is interested in your conversations.

"I just wanted to remind you to check the workroom. There's a TON of stuff that needs to be taken care of. Have you been there this week?*****" Um. No. I haven't been there yet. I took care of a bunch of errands on Monday and on Tuesday I had to go to the bank and do some grocery shopping. On each day I have to have at least one hour before the kids come home to do whatever I want. So if that ends up being not a dadgum thing, that's my priority.

Have I mentioned that I have managed to get through 44 years of life? I have also managed to bring into this world two wonderful kids with Hubby of almost 16 years? I don't need a micromanager. In the big scheme of life, this volunteer position will come after my home life is taken care of.  Not to mention I do have an older child that is in band and I like helping at her school as well.

In that moment when she's asking if I'm keeping up with my duties, I let her make me feel belittled. Who does that in front of somebody else? I am a grown a** woman. I know what needs to get done and by golly if it doesn't then the teacher will have to just take care of it. I'm sorry. There are weeks where I have spent 20 hours a week in that workroom. If it takes me until Wednesday to get to that room then so be it. This is a VOLUNTEER position. I have volunteered PLENTY since school started.

What Little Nag doesn't realize is that the office manager let the entire teaching staff know that there is a dedicated person for the workroom this year. I have been overwhelmed at times and have asked for help. That doesn't show up. There will be weeks where it will be my first priority. But not every week. 

And you know what? If it's not getting done to her liking, then she can jump in there any old time and make a copy or two.

You know, I would have preferred for her to just say "Hi". But she didn't and it is what it is******. The next time that happens, be warned Little Nag. Be warned. Depending on the day, I will go bat crap crazy on you and I will do it with a smile. You might not even know I'm doing it to you.


*PTA=Parent Teacher Association

**Do you know how many hundreds of books I've covered? Why can't they just ask the parents to at Meet the Teacher night?

***It's sort of funny actually. The ones that do this are shorter than I am. Listen, it's ok for you to be short and it's ok for me to be tall. Get.Over.It.

****Fellow PTA'er happened to be tall as well.

*****This was Tuesday afternoon.

******Ran into her once at the grocery. We were on the same aisle. I hope you liked the wine you chose. I sure liked mine and Hubby liked his Dos Equis. She looked down as I was coming towards her. I went ahead and said "Hi ****". It's ok. I don't want to be friends with you, but I will be civil. Til I have a reason not to be.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Glorious Rain

We have a saying in Texas, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes. It will change". When we went to our daughter's volleyball game on Saturday morning it was getting a little breezy. But it was around 78 degrees. When we came out of the game the temperature had dropped about 25 degrees. Now, I realize it might be back up in the 90's next week. But I'm gonna cherish this cooler weather while I can.

There was rain in our forecast, so Hubby and I were thrilled*. Bring it on! With the temperature drop, we thought of all the things that we have needed to do since the last winter**. Night has come upon us and all the dishes are put away. We're still waiting on the rain.

There's a baseball game on the tv, that I'm not quite interested in, but Hubby is***.

Then the rain starts. Finally. It was glorious! At least two hours of a good soaking. I grabbed my favorite blanket and headed outside. The covered patio provides protection from the rain, but I enjoy the sounds.

My life is not complete if I can't enjoy a little music whenever I'm alone. So I turn to my favorite (and fitting) playlist****.

Rain, please don't be such a stranger!

video




*The ground is dryer than the Sahara at this point, and we'll take all the rain we can get.

**Buy hot cocoa. Clean out the fireplace(still!).

***Tampa Bay Rays knocked out our Rangers. So we were rooting for Boston.

****My life IS complete, don't get me wrong. But I enjoy music as much as I can. And when the moment calls for some John Coltrane and Miles Davis, I'm gonna have it!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Aye. Aye. Aye.

I recently got schooled by my 7th grader. Sort of. Maybe not. Here's how it went:

My daughters follow me on Pinterest*. Pinterest is my oh-so-wonderful-steaming-pile-of-creativity-have-more-pins-than-time-hobby. I adore Pinterest. A while ago I pinned this picture:

If only I had the guts to have this picture taken with me and Craig.
The caption under my pin said, "I wish I had the guts to take this picture with Craig".


I am choosing to believe that this is a husband and wife. As close as two people can get without having sex. To me, this is a beautiful picture. It's a piece of art. A certain sense of "rawness" to the picture. It's a great picture minus all the perfect poses and makeup. No matchy-matchy clothes in sight. No perfect background. Just vulnerable.

Should the man be wearing pants? Absolutely. If I ever had this picture taken, the bottom of the picture would cut off before my bottom. Way up higher than this picture.

My hesitation in ever taking this picture would be that I'm not sure I'm skinnier than Hubby**. That my picture wouldn't look quite as good as the one above.

Anyway. So my daughter thinks this is almost pornographic. Aye aye aye. Parenting is a fine line. Especially when you have your moral compass looking right back at you in the eyes!

*What was I thinking? I better clean up some of my profanity laden Chucklebucket board.
**Or wider, I guess?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Goodbye, Sweet Summer

I hate to see this summer come to an end. It is one of those summers that will go down as one of the best so far*. We finished off the second half of the summer with plenty of activities. There was a good balance of down time with a good amount activity. And now I'm staring at the face of the first day of school! How could that be?

We graced the gates of Hawaiian Falls several more times before putting that season pass to bed. Who can ever get enough of the lazy river?

One fine day found us on a road trip to Marshall Pottery, in Marshall, TX. I ended up missing my exit for Marshall and we saw a sign for the Glass Bathroom in Sulphur Springs, TX. Have you seen it? We happened to see it featured on a show on HGTV. So sure enough we found our way to the Glass Bathroom.

This thing is fascinating! Of course, we all had to do our business so we thought, "Why not?". Sure enough, you can see out of it, but no one can see in. And it's air conditioned!

There are two of these on the square in downtown Sulphur Springs. If you are ever passing through the town and have to go, I highly recommend this place to stop. It's cleaner than most places you'll ever stop.

I'm taking this pic from inside the bathroom. They really can't see me!
The view out of the top of the bathroom.

The square is really cute. It's almost a town that time forgot with shops on the square. After we had ventured into a few, it was time to set our map toward our original destination. It was a great day. We ended up eating dinner in a Mexican restaurant in Big Sandy. The building that is now the restaurant used to house the grocery store that my great-grandfather owned. A trip to East Texas always means a trip to the cemetery where my father and other relatives are buried**. I grieve for what he misses, for what my life has become today. But relieved that he is in a better place.

This summer also found me reading. Yes, you read that right. READING BOOKS! I finished two books***. The first book I finished was A Grown Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson. I enjoyed this book. There were a few occasions where it uses language that makes me cringe. Basically the story is about how secrets never stay secret. Isn't that the truth?

The next book on the docket was The Devil in the Junior League by Linda Jackson Lee. Oh my gosh, I loved this book! It's a look at one entitled young woman who finds herself robbed of her riches right under her nose by her no good husband. She learned how to pick herself up and take care of business.

I'm on my third book, but not finished yet. And I'm one of those that can only handle one book at a time.

Volleyball camp was attended by both girls this summer. It was a week filled with working on skills and seeing some old friends and making new ones. 

Another road trip found us going to Mrs. Baird's in Fort Worth. It was two moms and five kids between us. Once you walk inside, you realize what heaven must smell like! It was fun to see how this place runs like a well oiled machine. At the end of the tour we got to sample a FRESH-OUT-OF-THE-OVEN hamburger bun with butter. BUTTER, I tell you! Want to reserve your tour? Go here: http://www.mrsbairds.com/bakery/tour.php.



After the tour at Mrs. Baird's we weren't quite ready to go home. Wouldn't you know that right up the highway is Miller Brewing? What a coincidence! Two moms. Five kids. We're going to ask if the brewery gives tours as well. You never know unless you ask.

You should have seen the security when we walked in the door. You would have thought you were walking into Fort Knox. It's just beer, people! The adults disappointment was audible when we were told that they didn't give tours. The nice security guard offered to let us fill out a comment card asking for them. Apparently, A LOT of people have stopped by and asked this very question.


When all else fails, you head up the highway and run into another beer place. This one being the Coors distribution plant. They didn't give tours either, but they had a marketplace! And they were willing to take our money for some cute t-shirts. I'm not crazy about the beer, but the Blue Moon t-shirts were cute****. Who couldn't use an oversized shirt to sleep in anyway?


 It was a revolving door as far as kids coming and going.

We even checked out a local indoor trampoline park. The girls LOVED it! I would have loved to try it out, but I remained composed. And tried, unsuccessfully, to nap while the girls jumped. Fun. Fun. Fun. 

We ushered in a 12th birthday for my oldest. How time flies! The teen years are coming at us like a Mac truck.

Meet the teacher came for my youngest. I think this was the first year that my husband was raving (in a good way) about the first impression of J's 3rd grade teacher.  Oh Hallelujah!

There was one last soiree for our Sunday School class*****. It was held at the director's house. Their house is just beautiful! Lots of people. Lots of food! Lots of humidity. The kids were happy in the pool.

To Summer 2013, you were wonderful to me. Here's to many fond memories. You were the summer that taught my kids how to stay up late and sleep just as late. As the bathing suits dry out and chlorine has been washed out, we start to head into days filled with band practice and homework. Alarm clocks and lunch boxes******. WOOHOO!


*In my mind, anyway.
**A small cemetery, poetically on a hill with lots of trees and loved ones buried there for over a 100 years.
***That's more books than I've read in all the years I've been out of high school.
****I'm not a beer person. Wine coolers seem to be a little more delightful on the tongue.
*****Yes, I still say Sunday School. Don't think that's going to change anytime soon.
******There have been times when the hallelujah chorus has been springing up in my head. I have heard the angels singing.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

For the Love of Everything Social

I've grown weary. I'm tired of sorting through all the junk on facebook.

I realize that it's out there for each one of us to post whatever we feel like. And haven't we all learned that there are some things we just shouldn't post?

Can I just mention a few?

I'm tired of seeing what people post on pinterest attached to their facebook account. Most likely I follow you on pinterest, so I don't need to see it on facebook as well.

I really could care less what photos you like on instagram. I'm not on instagram. Don't care to be. And I especially don't care to see which pictures you like. After some of the pictures I've seen you like, I wish I could stick a fork in my eye.

Please stop with the recipes. I get plenty from pinterest and the cookbooks in my home. And like I said, if I follow you on pinterest I will have already seen them. I don't want to see them on facebook as well. It's really exhausting when people "share" the same recipes over and over with no intention of ever making it. The intention is to get somebody else to make it for you. Not gonna happen.

To the animal rescue people: good gosh, please stop. I love animals. I really do. I even have one of my own. But not everyone loves them like you. I'm glad that's your passion in life. I don't think it should be your whole life.

There seems to be those that confuse facebook with twitter. I don't need a play by play of any sort of activity. Whether it be an athletic event or some other activity. Quit with the play by play.

I've tried blocking apps, but it just doesn't seem to work.  Mark Zuckerberg, if you're out there, could you help a girl out? Help me make my facebook experience a little more enjoyable and a little less eye rolling. I know. I know. It's MZ's road or the highway. He's not exactly into making the facebook thing user friendly. 

UGH.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life Lesson #8765

I have learned that when someone says they want your advice, they're usually lying. They don't want any advice. They want to explain their side, then defend it when you give another opinion. It's pointless.

The next time someone comes to you saying they would like your advice, RUN.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Party! Party!

I am one of the first people to agree that parties are great! Truly they are. Several weeks ago the recent high school graduate next door decided to have a party. Friday night. Saturday night. I figured she's about to graduate and so let her have her fun. It's one weekend. And it seems the parenting over there is sort of loose and I figured the parents were home. Um. No, they weren't*. They partied until almost 3:00am.

I let it go. Then the next weekend came around. More parties. Yippee! My patience had long since gone and I wanted sleep. At this point in my life I have realized that teens are idiots and my tolerance level for them is low. Thanks to my local police department for wrapping it up for me.

A few days later I ran into the step-father of said high school graduate. I asked if they were out of town the last two weekends. They sure were! So I let them know of the recent activity going on. They had no idea**. He apologized and we went about our day.

Later on there was a knock on the door. It was the teen actually apologizing. Then she totally wiped out her apology when she asked, "What about it bothered you? The noise level**? The amount of people or the late hours?"

What does it matter which it was? It all bothered me. Hubby and I pay good money on the  mortgage to have to put up with your idiocy. I already have to deal with your step brother peeping over my fence****.

 I'm fine with people in this hood wanting to be left alone. But include me in that bunch and we'll all get along just fine. We'll just wave high when we occasionally pass each other on the street and forget this ever happened. 


*I didn't know this til later.
**Now you do. Doesn't every parent know that when they leave the teens at home, nothing good is going to happen?
***Not only loud music, but idiot kids screaming and yelling in the backyard. Has society really stooped to this level? I'm watching my kids like a hawk and I'm expecting my friends to help me.
****Asking him relentlessly to stop doesn't help. Yes, there's a higher fence in my future and it won't get here soon enough.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What We've Done This Summer. So Far.

We're practically at the half-way mark of the summer. Here's a run down of things we've done so far:

Trip to NYC.

Child One went to church camp.

We took a tour of Lucky Layla Farms and saw them milk the cows. Even walked away with some tasty butter. I didn't have the nerve to buy the raw milk. I know it's supposed to be good for me, but maybe in time.





Summer reading programs rock! I'll provide our book lists in another post.

Hawaiian Falls.

We went with some friends to the Federal Bureau of Engraving. This was a very neat trip! We learned how money was printed*. This trip is free and if you go during Spring Break or the last week in June and July they have demonstrations for the kids. I couldn't take any pictures. The security there is like I imagine it would be at the Pentagon or White House. Just pretty much leave everything in your car. Unfortunately.

On the way home from the FBoE we visited the Fort Worth Water Gardens. That was pretty neat. This was the first time that my girls and their friends had seen it. This day was so much fun because we hadn't seen our friends in a while and it was just neat! 




Swimming galore!

That's it so far. It's been nice! 

*This trip was so neat we're going back in July. I have to take Hubby because I know this is right up his alley!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ugh

That feeling you get when the person you're with is texting non-stop. But when you're not together and you text that person it takes what feels like forever to get a response. Kinda makes you not want to spend time with that person anymore.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

NYC 2013-Day Six & Seven

What a way to spend Fathers Day! Hubby can say he spent FD in NYC. Today was check out day from the hotel in Brooklyn and head to the hotel in Jersey because our plane was leaving at 6am. We wanted to be at an airport hotel so we wouldn't have to worry about being too far away and traffic.

I had gotten my hopes up temporarily that we'd be able to catch a flight home today, but with only 1-5 seats available we didn't want to chance getting stuck w/out our luggage*.

So off we go to the hotel. They were nice enough to let us do an early check in. Once we got to our room at the airport hotel (in Jersey) we looked out our window and we had a better view of Manhattan than we had from our hotel in Brooklyn**. This was the view we longed for while in Brooklyn.

Once we got our bags settled it was lunch. Good grief. We debated on whether to order from room service or go to the food court at the airport. So we hopped on the airport shuttle bus to catch some grub. This lunch was the closest we got to Tex-Mex. It was a restaurant somewhat like Chipotle. After lunch we ended up walking back to the hotel. We waited quite a while for the airport shuttle to come back, but gave up after about 15 minutes or so. We walked back to the hotel. It wasn't really that bad. We didn't have to cross any major highways or anything that scary.

Once back in our room it was movies on demand for us. First up, Oz The Great And Powerful and The Croods. Dinner came from room service. I had a burger and it was actually one of the best burgers I think I've had.

Bedtime was upon us. A little bit closer to home.

Day Seven


I guess we're a glutton for punishment. Or we like to make sure we get on flights. Hubby and I woke up at 3am. It wasn't that hard since neither of us slept all that great. There was a plane to catch at 6am and we were gonna be on it.

The kids did great. We got out of the hotel by our goal time. But it went downhill from there.

This may be the reason I just start advocating we drive on our vacations, TSA. It's 5am and we're shuttled through the TSA checkpoint. The girl with a chip on her shoulder tells everyone that electronics need to be in their own bin. The Momma Bear in me is trying to keep up with my kids and what they might be going through, our ten million bins of stuff and whether it's being confiscated and then I hear, "Ma'am, take off your flip flops and sweater around your waist"***. God forbid, I got scatter brained and forgot to take my sweater off and flip flops. Plus, one hand is holding my boarding pass and drivers license. I didn't want to set that down anywhere, HELLO! So she's there rolling her eyes****.

So I'm throwing flip flops and my sweater in yet another bin. And she's still reminding me she needs to see my boarding pass and drivers license. When I put my hand out to get my DL and boarding pass back from her she kept my DL. She's still holding on to it. When I say "witch" I mean with a capital "B"*****. She had nothing to hold me for and no reason to suspect.  Then she accused me of snapping at her. I ain't got time for that. Please.

We finally got on our flight. It was a flight going from Newark to Houston. It's never good to get to your connecting flight just to hear that flights are delayed because of major thunderstorms in your home city. It took everything I had to hold back the tears. Once we found out one flight was full, we went to another gate. On the other end of the airport. For roughly five hours. We even debated renting a car and driving back******. Back and forth til one of the nicest gate agents EVER finally started putting people on the wait list on flights. I think the flight we finally got on was filled with more wait list people than scheduled people. Fine with me.

Spending the day at the airport after spending the day before in a hotel just sucks. Crap happens.

Home sweet home!

I have to give major kudos to my kids. They kept up with us the whole vacation. They never complained. They fared better than me at times. I'm thrilled that they'll have this memory. Vacations were never a priority when I was growing up and we all got to see it together for the first time. My kids make me proud. Proud that God chose me to be their mother. I an one lucky woman!

*When you're ready to be home, you're ready to be home.
**There was NO view in Brooklyn since our hotel had no windows except for the skylights.
***On flying days I dress comfortably. I had a cute little dress on and flip flops. Plus a sweater in case I get cold. Plus, I don't want to have to deal with socks and shoes through TSA. Just get a bomb sniffing dog for goodness sake, you morons.
****If you don't like your job or you can't do it professionally, THEN FIND ANOTHER JOB. YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR. Find a job where you can just sit in an empty room and not have to deal with people.
*****I was vindicated when I heard one of my favorite radio talk show guys talking about the same TSA.
******But we waited it out since our luggage would be waiting for us at the airport.

Monday, July 1, 2013

NYC 2013-Day Five

Today started off like all the others. At a leisurely pace. A reservation at Top of the Rock was waiting for us at 2pm. After breakfast we headed off in that general vicinity.

We reached the Brooklyn Bridge and decided it was the perfect opportunity to make our trek across one of the most well known and beautiful icons of the city. The weather couldn't have been more perfect! With a bottle of water and a hot dog in hand we set off for the other side. Along with 5,000 of our not so closest friends.

The loves of my life.
View of the Manhattan Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge.


The views were amazing. People, cars and bicyclists packed on this monstrosity of engineering wonder.

On our way to Top of the Rock we made pit stops into Sephora, American Girl, and Coach. My living dolls got an AG NY t-shirt for their dolls and Coach was just Coach. The Sephora store is worth visiting for the architecture alone. Just go in and look.

Right outside Rockefeller Center is the iconic statue of Prometheus. This is quite a site. Everybody's seen it on tv or in a movie, but when you see it in person, it's a little majestic, with a little bit of over the top. 



When you get inside the Rockefeller building for the TotR you go through a tour of pictures of the people behind the building. Pictures of the people whose name is on the building and pictures of the people who were actually doing the hard labor. The elevator that takes you to the top has a clear ceiling to see all the way up the elevator shaft. It's one of the fastest elevators that I've ever been on. But it didn't feel like we were going that fast.

Nothing could beat the views from Top of the Rock. It's a complete 360 degrees of NYC. There are three outside levels of observation decks. Hubby was good with standing close to the building. Nor did he go to the third level.
View of Central Park from Top of the Rock.

 

Add caption

View of the Empire State Building and lower Manhattan.


After TotR we set out for Bloomingdales. I had wanted to see it since the one in Dallas closed over 20 years ago. As soon as we walked in I was overwhelmed*. Each brand had their own "shop" within the store. I'm not a fan of that. If I want to go look for a certain color skirt, I want to see all of them in the same place. I don't want to have to venture through every brand in a different area of the store.When we realized that Bloomies was 7 floors of high falootin' brand names and snotty salespeople, we decided to go straight out the opposite door. We at least made it through the first floor.

When we came out the other side of Bloomies we happened to come across Magnolia Bakery. This was on my list of things to visit**.  Sure enough it was time for a sweet treat! Well, the cupcake wasn't any better than ones I've made in my own home. But we can say, "been there done that" now.

After another full day in the bag we decided to head back to the hotel. Off to the subway. Right train. Wrong direction. After we realized we were going in the wrong direction we got off to get on the train going the right direction. Child Two had to go to the bathroom. We came across Enzo's. A great Italian restaurant. We found our excuse to go potty. It was called dinner.  We were in another nice area of Brooklyn and the restaurant had tables spilling out into the street. When you go to the back it had a courtyard with tables as well.The people here couldn't have been any nicer.

Too bad we didn't notice the "Cash Only" sign outside the door***. With the tab paid and bellies full it was time to head back to the train. In the right direction. Once we got back to the hotel it was a fun-filled night of laundry and to get our stuff ready to head back home****.

Stuff we saw on the subway train:
-People going to work
-People going home
-A girl with a safety pin for an earring

-A girl with a blue streak in her hair
-A girl with all pink hair
-Couples going on dates, with about 100 of their not so closest friends
-A quartet singing Rockin' Robin

All in all, not so much different than people that would ride the DART or that live in my general area. It would be nice if there were more quartets, though.

At this point we're missing home. Here are some specifics:
-Elbow room
-Tex-Mex
-Being able to just get in the car and go(it seems that if you have somewhere to be at a certain time, there is uber-planning involved!
-Tucker
-My own not-so-small corner of the world in Texas
-Blue Bell ice cream (what they call ice cream is not ice cream)

Some things we didn't like about NYC:
-Smokers everywhere
-Sensory overload
-Graffiti
-Nasty dirty

-Scaffoldings seemed to be on the outside of every building we wanted to see 
-NYC people, in general are not nice



*No need to wipe your eyes or check your glasses. You read that right. I was overwhelmed and intimidated.
**Yes. A cupcake was on my list. We had come across one at Grand Central Station, but I think we had already reached our sugar high for that day and I just couldn't.
***Yes. We carry cash. But who carries a vacation's worth of cash in their pocket? Thankfully we had it covered.
****This is where I totally ruined my new NY jacket. The red color ran onto the white and I haven't been able to get it out yet.

Monday, June 24, 2013

NYC 2013-Day Four

I think our pattern on this vacation is that every other day will be great. At least start off great. We started off early to catch an 8:30 double decker tour bus. Yes. We were one of THOSE tourist people. There is too much walking to be done in that city and what better way to see the city than on top of a double decker?

After we got to the bus terminal it was almost comical. The driver was arguing with the tour guide on the whole process of when payment takes place and who takes the payment. It was pretty unprofessional if you ask me. There was a time when I asked Hubby if we should just go get on another bus line. There are plenty of tour companies up there. It rained on us a little, but not enough to get the umbrellas out. Unbelievably, Child One fell asleep during the tour. Oh well. Hubby and I enjoyed it. I didn't worry about taking pictures during the bus tour. I just wanted to sit back and take in everything.

After a couple of hours on the tour bus we got off at Battery Park. We planned on going on a boat to see the Statue of Liberty*. If you could have seen the way the pier was bobbing up and down in the water, you would have run the other way like I did in my head. Small boat on a big body of water = me throwing up off the side of the boat.

We decided to walk to the Staten Island Ferry since that goes by the statue and best of all, it's free. And a big boat with a flat bottom means no rocking. And the bigger the boat the smaller the body of water.  We rode the ferry to Staten Island then back to Manhattan. Then hopped back on the bus to see the rest of the tour of the city. The second part wasn't as good as the first. We didn't have the same tour guide as before. I don't think we had ANY tour guide on the second part. But at least we weren't having to walk.

We got off the bus at Central Park. Hubby wanted to rent some bikes and go through the park. I was torn on this. I wanted to take a horse drawn carriage. But the carriages only take you through a small part of it. So two tandem bikes it was. Good gosh, those things are harder than people think. First Child Two got on with me and Child One was with Hubby. The weather had warmed up quite a bit, so we were shedding our jackets.

Going uphill on a tandem is not fun. Especially with a kid who can't reach the pedals. Hubby had to wait to the side for me a couple of times, so we ended up switching partners. By the time the third hill came up, I'm sure Hubby just thought I was whining about the bike ride, but I swear, my bike chain was slipping. And I had Child One as a witness. So Hubby finally checked it and sure enough it was coming off, which is NOT conducive to a bike ride! 

Did I mention that before he checked the bike chain, he said that I was out of shape and that I needed to get to the gym? Oh. No. He. Didn't. Yes. He went there. It was on. There were so many four letter words going through my brain, but I kept my mouth shut. I think my anger kept the tears from streaming. Did I mention that we were going uphill? With a bike chain that kept slipping.

Then comes a time when Child Two has to go to the bathroom**. We pulled over at a part of the park where she could discreetly go to the bathroom. Right there in nature. I was thankful I had some napkins with me from earlier in the day.

Apparently I have no clue how to get off a tandem bike. Due to the warm weather I have glistened quite a bit and my jeans are a little clingier than normal. I go to swing my leg over the bike to get off. Then I lose my balance and thank goodness for the hard ground that broke my fall. And my hip. Ever fallen on your hip? If only we had been on a horse drawn carriage....

Views from the lake inside Central Park


Obviously, I don't hold my ego in that high of a regard or I wouldn't be sharing some of these things. On we go. Child Two has done her business and we bike and bike. We make it to the lake inside the park. Time for another break.

We finally decided it was time to drop the bikes off, back to their rightful shopkeeper***. I thought Hubby had stopped to wait for me to catch up to him. Nope. He stopped because we were at the street we needed to exit the park. Did he let me know? Nope. Child Two and I kept on biking. My cell phone was buried in the basket under everybody's crap. I kept biking for TWELVE more blocks before stopping to realize Hubby was nowhere to be found.

YEAH! I get to walk the bike back TWELVE blocks to meet up Hubby at the right corner where the bike shop is.

Once we get rid of the bikes we try and find a place for dinner. We stopped at the Brooklyn Diner****. It had wonderful food but no "diner" prices. Child Two got a "15 bite hot dog". It was as long as she was wide. It was one of those places that actually had mouthwash in the restroom. I thought it was soap when I was washing my hands. At least my hands were minty fresh. We enjoyed watching the rain as we ate dinner and thankfully it stopped when we were finishing up.

After dinner it was time to head back to Brooklyn to the hotel. Off we go...

*The Statue of Liberty is closed until 4th of July, due to repairs. Not sure if it's just general maintenance or because of Superstorm Sandy.
**God bless this child on this trip. Whenever she had to go to the bathroom there wasn't one around. Or if there was, they wouldn't let her use it.
***Praise God.
****If I ever see a tandem bike again, it will be too soon!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NYC 2013-Day Three

I think Hubby won the lottery today as far as woman/girls on the oh so crazy train of hormones. The estrogen card carrying members of the family were not to be reckoned with.

It was pretty much a late starting day. There was no rush out the door for anything. I think that was part of the reason I could have been in a mood.

We were headed to the World Trade Center Memorial. We left early enough to see what else was in the general vicinity.

For a long time it felt like we were walking in circles. It seemed that google maps was playing a cruel joke on us, and people we would ask we couldn't understand.

Security to get to the memorial was serious. They don't play games. Once we went through the maze of fencing, people with serious armory and bullet proof vests, there it was.  It was humbling. It took us back to where we were the moment it happened. I happened to be holding a six week old baby and watching it happen on my favorite twenty four hour news channel. The world saw the face of evil that day. I'm not sure it will be one of those days I'll soon forget.
North Tower Reflecting Pool


The weather was rainy and cold. It never fails that I told the girls three times to pack a light jacket. Did they? Nope. We tried to find a jacket for the girls at Century 21. I hated that store. Six floors of cramped and crowded stuff. The trick to go from the street level to the other floors was a sad, sad joke. Believe it or not, I don't deal well with New York department stores. So we ended up going into one of those places that has NY souvenir stuff. We found everyone a really cute jacket*.

We visited St. Paul's Chapel.  There is still memorabilia from 9/11 everywhere. All at once you feel sadness, yet hope. In the face of tragedy people brought forth compassion, comfort and a message of love. We had taken two umbrellas from our hotel because of the rain**. Once we were done in St. Paul's Chapel we came out to see that our umbrellas that we had left on the front porch were gone. I guess they needed them more than we did. It had stopped raining once we left.
The cemetery right outside the chapel.

Flag of Honor with the names of the victims of 9/11.

 We had made our wall to Wall Street. The buildings alone are amazing. Nevermind the snipers on the roof. You don't mess with them, they won't mess with you! 

NYSE
 We found our way to Central Park. In the middle of a concrete jungle, how could anyone get tired of this?







 This was just a quick dip into Central Park. There's more to come later. We left the park to try and make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fifteen blocks away. By foot. We finally got there. At closing time.

Earlier in the week we walked to the Museum of Modern Art. But that's not our thing.

I think today was the day that we realized we would need a lot longer than a week to see everything we wanted on our list. And we should have stayed in the city. I've mentioned that. Everything you will want to see is in the city. Just stay there. 

I don't think I've walked so much in my life. I thought surely I would lose some weight on this vacay with all the walking we're doing. Nope. But at least I didn't gain any!



*Only to find out that mine wasn't color fast and the red ran on the white and just ruined it the first time I washed it. Of course I noticed the "Made in Pakistan" tag long after we bought them. Now I'm just hoping and praying we didn't contribute to helping fund terrorism.

**We didn't steal them. There was an umbrella stand by the door with several in them. =)